Our third annual Christmas at the Mansion was designed by Jennifer Hermann of Hermann Furniture. As owners of the oldest furniture store Texas, it’s easy to understand the Hermann family’s desire to support the local heritage society. They know firsthand about the time and expense of maintaining historical buildings. Jennifer imagined a fundraising event that would showcase the beauty of the Giddings Stone Mansion, dressed in modern holiday décor from Hermann Furniture. Guests could participate in a self-guided tour of the home and/or attend one of the Saturday lunches. All profits from the event are donated to the Heritage Society of Washington County, as well as a portion of sales at Hermann Furniture.
Home for the Holidays
by Jennifer Hermann
It was last year after the crowds and my fantastic team had left, I sat quietly in this beautiful house—everything still all aglow—and I began to see a vision of the mansion for 2017.
I have always talked about my history with this house, and now I have a true connection. This lovely place now seems like home, so when October rolls around and place that key in the backdoor, I feel that I am home. This year more than ever, I wanted everyone who walked through that door to feel like they were “Home for the Holidays.”
The foyer was decorated in a classic blue and white theme that I dressed with a traditional red tartan plaid and holiday botanicals.
These beautiful traditional wing chairs by Kincaid put a wonderful twist on another classic by adding a tone-on-tone cheeta print fabric to the frame.
One of the small trees on a console in the foyer was adorned with glass atrium ornaments in keeping with our festive botanical theme.
The nine-feet tree in the foyer was filled with green hydrangeas, holly, clusters of red berries, and shiny red ornaments.
Whether I am decorating my own home or helping someone else, it is the small subtle touches that make a house a home. Only my mom, Gram and I would have noticed the small blue and white elephant in the foyer. It represented my granfather. He loved elephants and had quite a collection of them. Adding small reminders of loved ones past keeps them close in our heart the whole year through.
The antique piano held the hot cocoa bar to warm guests on a cold winter’s day.
Gingerbread ornaments, nutcrackers and candy canes were there to make everything merry and bright.
This year I swapped the dinging room and the living room to change it up a little. During the holidays, it’s fun to mix things up at home. Normally, the room gets shifted to add the tree, so why not go all out? Your family and friends will love it.
The main tree in the family room was filled with ornaments of snowmen, our first Christmas, mac-n-cheese, santas, and many other fun ornaments a family would have on their tree.
Animals around my house are never left out during the holidays, because they are truly part of our family. In the den, a special area was created just for them—A Christmas tree decorated with cat and dog ornaments, along with glass ginger jars full of treats. I have quite a herd at home with my two dogs, seven cats, and a turtle, so this area is well loved by my fur babies.
Growing up, we celebrated and opened our packages on Christmas Eve. The Southern flair in this room most resembles the tablescapes from the way my mother used to set the table during the holidays. Although the formal dining room was never reserved for just special occaisions, it was always used on Christmas Eve.
The tables were dressed with crystal vases full of red and white roses, cedar, and red berries.
For the place settings, we used a mix of real linens, paper, and acrylic. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different types of dishware and linens! We even used a lovely linen guest towel instead of a napkin.
Our dessert bar on the baby grand piano was a crowd pleaser. When entertaining at home, having separate service areas is a great help to the hostess. It gives her time to mingle with family and friends rather than being stuck in the kitchen setting up the next course. This is also a great way for a quick and easy Christmas dessert party during the holidays. Come-and-go parties are so nice this time of year since everyone is so busy.
The beverage bar was a huge hit and one of my favorite areas to create.
Old World Ornaments helped set the perfect beverage bar with glass pickles, deviled eggs, and liquer bottles.
Santa and one of his reindeer stood next to a traditionally dressed tree.
Thank you for taking a virtual tour of our Christmas at the Mansion event. Check back soon for a tour of the rest of the mansion!